At a symposium Monday reviewing the impact of the now-shuttered Tevatron particle accelerator, Fermilab director Pier Oddone discussed what's next for the laboratory.
While rattling off experiments -- both under way and proposed -- to explore the energy, intensity and cosmic frontiers, he also mentioned Fermilab is refiguring the proposed Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment so it stands a chance of receiving U.S. Department of Energy approval and funding.
A working group organized by Oddone will propose, in a report to the Department of Energy's Office of Science, that the DOE build a long beam line to shoot neutrinos to a detector in the former Homestake gold mine in Lead, S.D., and a 10-ton detector in that mine, in the first of three phases of constructing the experiment, he said.
Oddone was directed in March by the Office of Science to come up with a way to do the LBNE in phases, because doing it all at once was financially unfeasible, according to a letter from Office of Science Director Bill Brinkman to Oddone.
Oddone described the plan Monday as "small bites the Office of Energy's budget" can digest. The overall projected cost off the LBNE has been estimated at $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion.
He said the LBNE would be "powerful in resolving the next mysteries in the neutrino world." The lab is already sending neutrinos to a detector in a former mine in Minnesota. The committee considered two options that would use the Minnesota facilities but believes the limitations on the beam length would make it difficult to meet the goals of the LBNE experiment, resulting in "marginal science," according to a June 5 preliminary report from the committee.
Oddone gave the closing speech on a day in which about two dozen scientists and dignitaries from laboratories and governments around the world detailed the impact the Tevatron had during its legendary life before shutting down permanently in September 2011. They toured the Tevatron, the Collider Detector assembly and collision halls, and the D-Zero experiment building. They climbed ladders and ambled across catwalks to peer into the guts of a giant machine that once directed proton and antiproton beams off the Tevatron toward detectors, while learning that the equipment was so sensitive that Fermilab fire trucks were directed not to drive over it when there were particle runs, because disruptions from vibrations resulted in lost data.